John Closterman

Portrait of a Gentleman


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Not on display

John Closterman 1660–1711
Oil paint on canvas
Support: 2400 x 1486 mm
Accepted by HM Government in Lieu of Inheritance Tax and allocated to Tate 2019
On long term loan

Display caption

The inscription at the bottom shows that the subject of this portrait was once incorrectly identified as the Duke of Marlborough. In fact we do not know the identity of the man standing with his gun in a dramatically-lit woodland. The energy of the portrait shows the influence of Closterman’s recent trip to Madrid and Rome. Closterman was born in Osnabrück, in what is now Germany, in 1660. He arrived in London from Paris around 1681, at first working in partnership with the portraitist John Riley. Later he established an independent practice, becoming one of the leading society portrait painters.

Gallery label, February 2016

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